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Studio Lighting 101

Lesson 33 of 39

Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 9


Studio Lighting 101

Lesson 33 of 39

Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 9


Lesson Info

Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 9

You don't have a spot for the seamless because I tend to rip mine I use the box is that they come in, but I don't know if maybe there's cases that you can buy online. I haven't really found any because I don't have, like a studio that aiken permanently store them, those cases it comes in or fighting there, they're just like big cardboard tubes basically were some of them coming the tubes tubes are much more sturdy, they're much better at I get all all minor savage that I ever buy and their tubes below. The savage wants a big role in the tubes, okay? All right, great, so they continue onward and later on, if there's more questions, we can kind of continue on from that. All right, so we have a favorite segment, okay? We're going to talk about how to avoid reflections on glasses, and I'm actually going to have you step out because she had some glasses, but they weren't shiny she had well, that leads into this one of the ways you can help avoid reflections on your subjects glasses is they ...

actually make non reflective lenses, and a lot of people nowadays do have those, and it's just reduces glare on the lenses, which makes a massive difference. Older glasses tend not to have this resistant surface so I was trying to photograph her and I'm like moving around and I'm like, well, that's not going to be good for my demo because it had that surface on it and so and I tried yesterday john had a pair of glasses on that had it too, so he brought his shiny or glasses in today so if when he's done if you don't mind I will make you be my subject so no, you don't have to do right now I could I could walk through this first, okay? All right, so a couple things that you can do is you can adjust right on your subject and part of would be the reflective surfaces sometimes people can pop their lenses out of their glasses. This doesn't work if they have what way wireless bring on the bottom on some people just don't want to put the lenses out of the glasses and I don't blame them like I get that three other thing you can do also is just like even tilting your glasses a little bit. And so if we get a close shot on that what it can do before and after hey and tilting it down just a little bit and here's why okay, do you guys remember high school? Okay, we learned about something that was the angle of incidence is angle of reflection, which basically means you're thinking of like kind of like it's ping pong ing okay it's like billiard exactly it's billiard that's just it's just like playing pool the angle that it comes in to the glasses we'll be the angle it reflects out and so if you happen to be at that angle with your camera it's going to show a reflection but when he tilts his glasses down just a little bit now he's changed the angle so it's it's going to pass right past the camera you won't actually get reflection on his glasses depending on the size of the glasses so that won't always work because if they're really small then it cuts in the middle of their eyes but sometimes with larger classes just like a little bit further down on the nose or he's actually s so that you don't have to move it down the nose which doesn't look natural he's popping up the back the back of the glasses a little bit to change the plane of the glass versus pulling it down on the nose it makes a little bit different so I would try that first but what it comes down to is you were playing with modeling lights and you were playing with angles you have to use your modeling lights which is this is one of the reasons I said yesterday is the downside of using speed lights because you're going to take a lot of shots a ton of shots before you figure out where you get rid of the reflection on the glasses and then you might change your subjects pose and have to do it all over and over again, so I recommend using modeling lights for this, so really what you're doing is you are just playing with angles over and over again and you were playing with all of these things could make a difference lighting from side to side like when I have my light more to the front and my subjects facing more to the front it's better chance I'm going to get a reflection, maybe off to the side is going to reduce that a little bit lighting up and down this is the big one you want to avoid having your light too low when your life is too low, it goes bounce and bounce right back into the camera, so having your light up a little bit higher will make a difference. Your camera angle also makes a difference because let's say that I'm shooting and we got that angle just right there's no reflection, but now I popped down and when I get lower all of a sudden I just had him pop his glasses down and now I passed down to the level that the reflection was going to be so you have to keep in mind like all of these things are going to make a difference another angle would be your subject's face. I decide subject classes and then also how you're using the light so give you dumb although it's funny because now I see like almost no reflections, right? You have all these reflections, anyone ever I'll give it? I'll move it in the center and a second something else that john and I were having a discussion about this what I'm struggling with glasses, I tend to try to avoid really large light sources because it ends up being a huge reflection in the glasses and very distracting, but john made a great point that something that whole dio is you is a large light source really, really, really, really, really close and so you still have the reflection, but it covers the whole glasses and it's not like it's a bright like solid white reflection. It might just be a little bit of a haze and its nest less noticeable, so if you were, you don't have a smaller modifier and you I can't do with some of these things I'm trying you can't figure it out sometimes moving the light really close might work, I have no I have never tried it, but we can try it here the glass is the size of you, so you want to avoid very large light sources in my experience, I try to avoid them that's just how I used smaller light sources you also you would you want to raise them up higher than you normally would or try raising the light up and moving it off to the side? And this is why, if you are using a five foot octo box in a room with a foot ceilings, that's only ten feet or so wide it's going to be very, very difficult because you can't raise it up enough to avoid that angle of incidence angler reflection to avoid that reflection and you can't move it off the side enough to help you out. So perhaps using a smaller modifier switching from five to three foot, I might actually be able to raise it up a little bit, move it off to the side combined with the subject, flipping their glasses down a little bit. I've got to play with all these things, so the answer to everybody's, how do you avoid reflections on glasses? It is playing with all these different angles because it will depend on how high is your ceiling and then similarly, one of the things that helps is raising the light up. We just mentioned that because if it's low, it just bounces right in the glasses and back, but if you raise the light up too high and someone has deep sunken eyes then they don't have light in their eyes. So you really do have to play with all of this, because no one solution will work for every single person so wish it were as easy as me just saying, raise the light up and pull it off to the side and turn your subject's face slightly away from the light. It's funny, because, you know, and that's that's always like, would you like a few shots with the glasses offers, you know, and, like, try to warm them up, but, you know, like my dad, he he always wears glasses or he used teo, and so when I first portrait with him, I did not know how to get rid of reflections and glasses and photographing my dad. He always wears his glasses, so he didn't want to take him off, and he was a very patient subject. Well, I tried to figure that out, all right? And then the other thing, you want to avoid his chin up because a lot of times, if somebody like I see this, especially in heavier subjects, that might have kind of the double chin going on, they will do this to try toe stretch it out because they feel like they're self conscious and they keep popping those glasses up to the light. So instead you might want to tune out and down a little bit and then pop those glasses down a little bit and raise their light up a little bit higher and off to the side and turn the subject away from the light a bit like all of those things would help. So my go to would be that to give you the quick summary, smaller, light source a little bit higher up. I'm not talking really high and well done. What? Here? Um, it's a little bit higher up a little bit further inside. Depending on what their face looks like. I might turn them slightly away from the light, which is called broad lighting. We talked about that before the shadows are falling away from the camera. Someone has a wider face. I wouldn't do that. I might just do kind of straight on, um, and then the tilt of the glasses watching my camera angle. So it's angle, singles, singles, lots and lots of angles. So just to take a look here like this is something. This is my friend dave. I love him, he's. Awesome. And he always wears these cute classes, but there were very reflective, and he still had the reflection reduction, and you can kind of see it there, it's not like it's, a bright reflection I'm so with us with a mid sized soft box it wasn't even that big this was like a three foot or uh three foot soft box so I switched over to a beauty dish so the reflection gets smaller but he had his chin up a little bit we had him do it because you now and down and it gets rid of the reflection from just that angle but the problem is when I'm using a beauty dish and when he kind of leans forward now the lights a little bit too high or I mean, I actually think it's fine, but maybe you don't like the shadows created by the glasses or maybe you don't like the shadows on his face so then I can add a reflector, but usually you're going to want to add white because silver will give you her reflection of the the reflector from the bottom so I usually use white for phil when people have glasses on all right, so I'm going to give that a quick demo with john and we're going to try to get that to look bad on you so here's all the things you don't want to d'oh you don't want the late low you don't want it centered let's see pushed up all the way to fix it up a little bit there we go okay, I got it he has more more resistant glasses so you two that did not meet her but looks very good ok, so we've got a reflection in this shot and so all of the things that will take a look at our things he could do so let's say I keep everything consistent, okay, I'm going to stay at the same level all they want you to do is pop those glasses down a little hey, I did not move and just popping them down a little bit and he also put his chin neutral for me the reflection goes away or can you put your chin back up and put the glasses where they were perfect? So right now I'm looking I have that reflection again, okay got their selection and then I get up a little higher and all I want you just to get you now and down a tiny bit perfect my angle with his chin out and down a little bit took him from that to that, so that angle made a difference or in this case, um, I got the reflection right here, okay, I'm going to raise the south blocks up a bit and I'm going to go to the same level, ok, right about the same height, you know, if you're not sure if everyone can tell them about the same height and with the light up from the reflection below before now there's no reflection but it's a little bit darker and has his eyes so I might need to compensate with the reflector and the other trick that I said as well as for sometimes if people face straight towards the light can you turn your head completely towards the light? Sometimes you're used to lighting like this waiting a bit short light perhaps see how this all right so I have him being lit short light in this instance or not wish but the shadows were coming towards me shortly tends to create more of a problem with glasses ethan broad light would so what have you kind of flip around and I will adjust so now he's gonna have the same thing and I've been traded the same angle this is the same and blow that no reflections this way. So the long and short of it is it's every angle you can possibly play with also the size of your modifiers where you place them so it's angle of light height of like angle of glasses, height of the subjects chin angle of your camera and so if you try to think of it like the billiards example, if the head of the light is bouncing off the plane of his glasses, what is an equal angle from and in this case it's kind of hitting at an angle that kicks it off that way that won't be a problem, whereas if I bring it to the front and he faces straight on, basically, the angle is to the glasses straight back at me. You're trying to find a way to avoid that. So it is the glasses answer groups. Are you gonna address that at all? Okay, so the difference with groups and what I try to do with groups is I try to figure out who has glasses, and I pose them in the way that they're being broadly meaning their head is turning away from the light. So if this was a large group of people, the person people with the glasses I try not to put facing this way looking back at camp, okay, instead, I face them, put them on the other side this way, and then I would do the same thing where I popped the glasses down a little bit and I'd still raise the light up all of that same thing, but it's more where he placed the subjects with glasses in the group. And if everybody has glasses, we have a little bit more masks to dio on your angles. Get the right high as possible, like a big umbrella we used yesterday for the group brings it up as high as you can try to tell end everybody's glasses so I can get it that tilts up aside the cannons going past you ideal again, something they do a movie sets that we don't think of still photographer the throw a white muslim on the floor to kick up some light couple of quick questions on the eyeglasses thiss ones from edwin, have you ever used a polarizer filter? Does that do anything with regard to glasses? Polarize er's should help reduce glare, but I would I don't think I would eliminate it with it might help, but usually there's a reflections from the skin that it kills two and it makes the skin look a little greater. Yeah, I've never used polarizes for portrait it's interesting thing now I want to test it out and see what it does, but that makes sense. And just for those of you who don't know for polarize er's, what you typically use it for is if you're shooting a landscape used a polarizer, it could spread of some of the glare in the sky, and it makes it a deeper blue or a riser worked from ninety degrees, so you want the light would have to be coming from the side anyway won't do anything about a strategy that makes perfect sense some things a lot of sense because you can't use it to get rid of glare on window, but you have to be at the right angle. I also want to try it. I'm store down the street, we'll go get a pole, right? Yeah, one more quick, one on glasses. How about using hairspray on glasses and old movie trick? Have you returned that I haven't tried it, and I don't know people would be amicable to it. That's. What going spray would expect that it would fog the glass and make it translucent instead of transparent, you wouldn't see the eyes behind it with hairspray. I don't know, I was a fun movie. Sounds interesting.

Class Description


  • Expertly light a portrait using just one light and one modifier
  • Work with more complex two and three light set-ups
  • Create light for portraits, beauty, or drama
  • Light a group photograph
  • Learn to troubleshoot the most common lighting questions
  • Confidently purchase the right lighting equipment for your work


Intimidated by studio lights? In Studio Lighting 101, fashion photographer Lindsay Adler deciphers the complexities of studio light, breaking it down into simple concepts for beginners. In this class, you'll learn everything from basic lighting terminology to creating multiple light set-ups. Start with the basics like how to adjust your digital camera settings for studio strobes and layer in the details you'll need to light your first photo studio portrait.

Photographers on a budget will learn how to light a portrait using a single light, modifier, and photography light stand. Then, learn to work with two and three light kits to create drama, background separation, and more. You'll see dozens of studio lighting set-ups, from start-to-finish, behind the scenes in this live recorded class. Develop the skills to troubleshoot several common photography studio lighting problems, like lighting large groups and correcting reflections on glasses.

By the end of this class, you'll know how to buy your first studio lighting kit and how to shoot that first in-studio portrait. This class is ideal both for beginning photographers that don't understand much beyond the exposure triangle and experienced natural light photographers ready to try a studio setting.


  • Beginners with a grasp of the exposure triangle
  • Intermediate and advanced natural light photographers new to studio lighting


Fashion photographer Lindsay Adler is one of the most well-known in her field, noted for her style, posing and mastery of the studio lighting system. Along with working as a photographer, she's also a respected educator, a Canon Explorer of Light, and author of three instructional photography books. Her work has appeared in publications such as Marie Claire, Elle, InStyle, Noise, Essence, Zink Magazine, Rangefinder, Professional Photographer and dozens more. Lindsay is a sought after speaker for her experience and straightforward, easy-to-follow teaching style.


  1. Studio Essentials: Shutter Speed

    In the first lesson, gain an overview of the course. Dispel some of the most common lighting myths. Learn how camera settings change when working with studio lighting instead of natural lighting. Figure out your sync speed limitations and how shutter speed affects the ambient (or existing) light.

  2. Studio Essentials: Flash Exposure

    While shutter speed won't change the look of your studio light, aperture and ISO will affect the exposure, or the amount of light, from the flash. Learn how aperture affects the way that burst of light from your strobe or speedlight looks. Then, factor in ISO and the strobe output, or how much light the strobe lighting creates. Work with a light meter to take out some of that guesswork.

  3. Studio Essentials: White Balance

    Where should you set the white balance when working with studio lighting? In this lesson, learn where to set the white balance on the camera, and why those settings are different for different types of light and even different brands. Work with additional factors that can also affect color temperature.

  4. Light Principles: Inverse Square Law

    Dive into the three things that affect the look of the light. Consider factors like the intensity of the light, lighting ratios, and the quality of the light. Take the complexities out of the Inverse Square Law and learn how bringing the light closer or farther away makes a difference in the image.

  5. Lighting Patterns

    Learn the lighting lingo to establish a basic foundation in light -- and the ability to learn and talk about light. Pick up terms like broad light, short light, flat light, highlights, and shadows. Then, dive into common lighting patterns like paramount, loop, Rembrandt, and split.

  6. Shoot: Demo Lighting Patterns

    Watch the lighting patterns from the previous lesson in action. Learn how to set up each type of pattern. Then, add variety to the lighting set-ups through simple changes, such as understanding how height affects dimension.

  7. Quality of Light and Modifiers

    Control the quality of light from hard to soft adding modifiers to your lighting kit. Learn why size and distance matters for modifiers. Look at the different types of lighting accessories available and see how several types of modifiers affect the light.

  8. Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Diffusion and Grid

    See those lighting accessories in action. In this live shoot, see how adjusting the different available diffusers and grids change the look of the image. Determine how to pick a modifier that matches the look you want.

  9. Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Umbrellas

    Umbrellas are a large, inexpensive, and easy-to-use light modifier. Work with the different types of collapsible umbrellas, including silver, white and shoot through. Discover how to place the umbrella and work with umbrellas in a portrait shoot.

  10. Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Softboxes

    Softboxes are similar to umbrellas in that they create soft light, but they can be a bit easier to control. See the pros and cons of different shapes and sizes. In the live shoot, learn how to control the light spill by feathering a softbox.

  11. Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Extra Stuff

    Work with strip boxes, barn doors, grids, and snoots -- modifiers that are often used for rim light, backlight or hair lights. Explore how each type works, then see the different options in action. Learn about Lindsay's favorite modifier, the beauty dish.

  12. 10 One Light Set-ups: 1 and 2

    Launch into ten different lighting setups that you can achieve with just one light -- this lesson covers the first two. Create paramount and loop lighting with a softbox in this live shoot using a single light, a light stand, a boom arm, and an octabox.

  13. 10 One Light Set-ups: 3 to 5

    Moving through the ten lighting set-ups with a single light, work with a Paramount octabox and two fill cards for a lighting setup called the beauty box. Create a Rembrandt light with an octabox and watch the behind-the-scenes fine-tuning using a modeling light, or continuous lighting, to see how small adjustments affect the light. Then, add a silver reflector to the Rembrandt for another option.

  14. 10 One Light Set-ups: 6 to 10

    Continue building variety with a single light using a Rembrandt set-up with a white reflector. Create a short light loop with an octabox, a short light Rembrandt with a reflector, an octabox rim light, and an octabox behind.

  15. One Light Set-ups: Pop Quiz

    Review what the class has done so far. Look over the ten images from the one-light set-ups, recap the qualities of that light and how it was created.

  1. FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 1

    Which is better, strobe light kits or a continuous lighting kit likes the ones often used with video cameras? Discuss the pros and cons of each type to help determine what type of lighting gear works best for you. Dive into the most frequently asked questions about buying photography lighting, like what wattage to look for.

  2. FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 2

    This class allows you to shoot multiple set-ups with a single light -- but ideally, how many lights should you have in your light kit? Continue working with purchasing questions on lighting in this lesson, including name brands, DIY alternatives, and the difference between the pricey strobes and the less expensive strobes.

  3. FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 3

    If you can only afford one modifier, which one should you start with? Finish the round of purchasing questions in this lesson, including questions posed by students like you. Learn how strobes differ from flash heads or speedlights, and why strobes are often better for a studio space than an off camera flash.

  4. 10 Two Light Set-Ups: 1 and 2

    Move from simple single light set-ups to lighting with two light sources. Start with a basic portrait with a softbox loop and a stripbox hair or rim light. Then, learn to shoot a basic clamshell with a softbox, a reflector and a strip box for added highlight.

  5. 10 Two Light Set-Ups: 3 to 6

    Continuing the two-light set-ups, move into more dramatic lighting with a Rembrandt using a softbox key light and a strip box rim light. Next, tackle a Rembrandt portrait lightened with a fill card and a clamshell with a softbox and stripbox.

  6. 10 Two Light Set-Ups: 7 to 10

    Go behind the scenes for a short light Rembrandt with a second light behind the subject 45-degrees with a barn door modifier. Create a "checkerboard" style light using a Rembrandt key light and a grid on the background. Finally, create a dramatic Rembrandt with a silver dish and stripbox or barndoors.

  7. 5 Two Light Set-Ups: 1 & 2

    Two light set-ups aren't limited to just ten possibilities. In the second set of two-light scenarios, Lindsay walks through some less common photographic lighting techniques. Start with using two rim lights, then jump into a sideways clamshell.

  8. 5 Two Light Set-Ups: 3 to 5

    Create a wrap around beauty light with a softbox behind, a beauty dish in the front and a silver reflector. Or, build a more dramatic wrap-around light without a reflector. Learn how to shoot with a dramatic grid light and a barn door modified light towards the back.

  9. 5 Basic Three Light Set-Ups: 1 & 2

    A three light kit will open up even more possibilities. In this lesson, Lindsay discusses why you may want three lights, then jumps into the first of five different basic three light set-ups. Start with a high key portrait, followed by a high key clamshell.

  10. 5 Basic Three Light Set-Ups: 3 to 5

    Learn to light groups using a three light set-up. Anticipate the likely problems with lighting groups before they happen and watch a live demonstration of a group lighting set-up. Then, create a three-point light set up with a softbox and two stripboxes, then a checkerboard with a key, rim, and background light.

  11. 5 Intermediate Three Light Set-Ups: 1 to 3

    Move into the more advanced three light set-ups in this lesson. Start with a Rembrandt with a gridded beauty dish and two rim lights with barn doors. Then work with film noir studio lighting and a high key drama shot.

  12. 5 Intermediate Three Light Set-Ups: 4 & 5

    Learn to use your lights to create a high key spill light. Finally, create a high key clamshell lighting in the final intermediate three-light set-up.

  13. 10 Common Lighting Mistakes

    Now that you know how to light, learn how NOT to light. Work with some common lighting mistakes that beginners make, and learn how to fix each one.

  1. Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 1

    In the final day of the class, work through twelve common problems that are common in studio lighting. Learn how to problem solve lighting in the studio. Work with issues like getting a white background with one light or multiple lights.

  2. Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 2 to 6

    Continue troubleshooting in the studio and dive into creating full-length shots with an all-white background. Work with stacking light, dealing with ambient light, and more.

  3. Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 7

    How can you prevent the subject from casting a shadow on the background? In this lesson, Lindsay explains how to tackle this tricky challenge.

  4. Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 8

    How far away you place the light plays a role in the image -- so what about working inside a small studio? In this lesson, Lindsay tackles the challenges of working inside a small space with studio lights.

  5. Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 9

    How do you avoid reflections on the subject's glasses? Learn how to avoid reflections on glasses when using studio lights.

  6. Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 10 to 12

    Finish the list of the most common problems that come up with studio lighting. Work with separating the subject from a dark background, lighting groups evenly, and using wide apertures with strobe lights.

  7. Portrait Lighting: 1, 2, and 3 Lights

    In this set of rapid-fire studio set-ups, learn how to light a traditional portrait using, one, two or three lights. Watch behind the scenes for these "go-to" portrait set-ups.

  8. Beauty Lighting: 1, 2, and 3 Lights

    Beauty shots are a bit different from a traditional portrait. Walk through ideal lighting set-ups for beauty light using one, two and three lights.

  9. Lighting Groups: 1, 2, and 3 Lights

    Build these go-to group lighting set-ups into your repertoire. Learn easy lighting set-ups for using a single light, or one or two.

  10. Lighting for Drama: 1, 2, and 3 Lights

    Work with three go-to lighting set-ups for drama (which also work well for men). Learn dramatic light with one light, two or three.

  11. Your First Studio Lighting

    In the final lesson, gain insight into what to consider when building your studio lighting kit. Lindsay shares tips on what to buy and how to save cash for photographers on a budget.



If you're on the fence about this class I can easily answer your concerns. BUY IT. Lindsay provides top notch professional education while keeping things interesting. Her words are precise and direct. I actually felt GOOD just watching and learning. I mean, like someone surprised me with a cupcake kinda GOOD. After the class I could immediately see improvements in my photography. The best part is that I learned enough to see the wrong in my setups. Knowing what's wrong is just as important as knowing what's right. She is funny, easy going, energetic and filled with knowledge. I would also highly recommend her Posing 101 class as a must have addition to this course. I feel like I have learned more than I could possibly use. I will be going through this course over and over again just to make sure it all sinks in. There's THAT MUCH she offers that you will always learn more with each time you watch. I hope this helps someone make the decision to up their game. That is exactly what it did for me.

Beatrice Palma

Hi, I am Beatrice from Italy. I think this class is superb. I finally understood what are the guide lines to follow, I tried for years but never found such a good explanation. Lindsay is a wonderful teacher, she explains in a simple way, she shares a lot of knowledge and she shows in practice what are the results of every single choice. Thank you so much, it was really amazing and super interesting!!!!

Penny Foster

I have been shooting families and pets in my living room space for two years now and I thought I was doing a good job but certain skills had eluded me, like lighting a white background to perfection and shooting people with glasses without the reflections in my shots. Then I watched this course and had so many 'aha' moments that I HAD to buy it; not just for Lindsay's teaching style (which is pretty awesome( but also for all the lighting diagrams that I can refer to whenever I feel like 'stepping my lighting up to the next level'. Lindsay shows you what you can do with minimal gear, so you can get started right away; no need for expensive triggers (I have a set that just fires when I press the shutter), and no need for expensive branded modifiers (she shows you what you can do with one umbrella). Lindsay is so enthusiastic, it is obvious that she loves light, and it is hard not to get 'fired up' to try all of her lighting setups. Brilliant course once again!